Just over a year and half ago (summer 2006)
organised the commemorating climb in the Rwenzori range
named “In the Footstep of the Duke”.
Furthermore, they've published the booklet titled
“In the footstep of the Duke - The essential guide to history, climbing and trekking of the Rwenzori Mountains”,
containing the Map of the Rwenzori National Park.
Hovewer, not the one of the most influential figures in jazz, if not in all American music,
was the man to be tributed.
Tribute went in honour of the the slim Italian noble, who once wrote
"With will, courage, and perseverance, man can dare anything"
and has been almost entirely forgotten afterwards.
born Luigi Amedeo Giuseppe Maria Ferdinando Francesco in Madrid, on January 29, 1873.
was Italian explorer, mountain climber and naval officer.
He was born in Madrid to the then king of Spain who abdicated his throne just few weeks after his son's birth and returned to Italy.
When six years old, little Luigi was assigned to the Italian Navy and received his entire education in military schools.
Before he was 40 he had become one of the greatest mountaineers and explorers of his time.
Before his main adventures, Duke of Abruzzi bagged number of major Alpine summits to his credit.
including Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, and the Matterhorn, which he had climbed via the Breuil route, as well as via the Zmutt ridge,
together with his friend, English mountaineer (and economist) Albert Frederick Mummery.
At the age of 24 he organised and led the expedition that made the first ascent
of Mount St Elias (5,484 metres) in Alaska in 1897. It was, and is, the second-highest peak in U.S. territory.
The climb had not been technically difficult, the Italians had nevertheless gone from sea level to 18,000 feet and back again,
on an exhausting trip of 125 miles. They had not lost a man; in fact there had been no serious accidents.
It was a triumph of physical endurance, good planning, and leadership, and the credit was due above all to Luigi Amedeo,
then aged 24. At the time it was flatly regarded as the most successful expedition ever undertaken.
It would be another half-century before the next group of climbers, from the Harvard Mountaineering Club,
reached the top of Mount St. Elias.
Two years later in 1899. he led an expedition to the North Pole which reached a latitude 86° 34’ north, a new record at the time
surpassing Nansen's by some 40 km.
Leading the first trip northward from his ship, the duke froze his hands, had to haveseveral fingers amputated,
and gave over command of the Pole party to his friend Umberto Cagni.
During first part of this expedition, he arrived in the Norwegian capital Christiania (nowadays called Oslo)
together with 10 companions. The duke acquired the Jason, a whaler of 570 tons with steam engine.
Under its new name Stella Polare (“Pole Star”) the ship led the expedition through the frozen sea and on on June 30 the Pole Star
dropped anchor in the docks of Arkhangel’sk.
Having done the Alps, Alaska, and the Arctic, now he aimed at Africa.
Six years later in 1906 he led the Rwenzori expedition, to the snow-capped Rwenzori Range - The Mountains of the Moon
and the sources of the Nile, which lies astride the equator on the border between Uganda and Zaire.
These mountains are a mountaineer's paradise, a home of afro - alpine flora and fauna and a resource base for indigenous communities inhabiting the lower slopes and surrounding lowlands.
Abruzzi climbed all the major peaks and made the most extensive exploration of the range before or since.
When the duke returned from the Ruwenzori he was 33, world famous, and had been promoted to admiral.
Another three years later in 1909, he organised an expedition to the Karakoram
and set the record to the highest altitude yet achieved by ascending the second highest mountain in the world,
K2, to a height of about 7,500 metres [24,600 feet], along the route that today bears his name, the Abruzzi ridge.
On the same journey he increased this record when he ascended Chogolisa (Bride Peak) to an even higher altitude,
7.654 metres (about 25.110 feet), but did not reach the summit.
The duke's altitude record was to stand for 13 years until, in 1922, G.H.L. Mallory reached 27,000 feet during his first attempt
on Mt. Everest. The duke and his guides had moreover spent nine days above 21,000 feet, which no one had ever done before them.
During his great period of adventure and exploration, Duke of the Abruzzi remained a professional naval officer.
He was the Admiral of Italian Adriatic fleet during the WWI.